US DOE announces funding for particle accelerator technology

30 January 2020

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has announced plans to provide $10 million for efforts to advance particle accelerator technology for applications in medical, security, energy, and industry.

The awards aim to transform sophisticated accelerator technology used primarily for scientific research into an effective tool of medicine and industry. There will be a specific emphasis on the development of novel 'compact' accelerator technologies for cancer treatment and other applications.

“Particle accelerators were developed mainly for scientific research, but have come to be indispensable tools of medicine, industry, national security, and many others,” said Paul Dabbar, Under Secretary for Science. “This research helps to ensure that both government and the private sector benefit from the very latest advances in accelerator technology.”

Research funded under the Accelerator Stewardship programme within the DOE Office of Science has to date has helped to reduce the cost and improve the quality of cancer therapy. It has also helped to advance non-chemical methods of destroying pathogens and toxic chemicals, and enhance security operations at border checkpoints.

Today’s initiative includes a new topic focused on the development of novel compact accelerators ranging in size from several metres to tabletop scale.

Research is closely coordinated with multiple programme offices within DOE and with other federal agencies, including the Department of Defence and the Department of Homeland Security, which have their own interest in various applications of accelerator technology.

Applications will be open to universities, DOE national laboratories, nonprofits, and private firms.

Funding will be awarded competitively, based on peer review. Awards are expected to be over one- to three-years, ranging from $75,000 to $1,000,000 per year, beginning this fiscal year.

The planned funding of $10 million over three years includes $5 million in fiscal year 2020, with outyear funding contingent on congressional appropriations.

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